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Louisiana custody dispute results in criminal consequences

Whether parents are married, unmarried or divorced, disputes in Louisiana that center on child custody can be highly contentious. In all Louisiana custody battles, family law judges will rule primarily according to the best interest of the child. Any instances of criminal activity, substance abuse, domestic violence or other condition that will risk the physical and mental wellbeing of a child will weigh significantly in determining child custody and visitation.

The married parents of two young boys were arrested last summer when police found the parents in a Louisiana hotel with drugs and weapons. Following the arrest, a family law judge awarded custody of the boys to the maternal grandparents.

As previously stated, custody battles can be highly contentious. In some instances, this will cause individuals to take irrational measures, often outside the bounds of the law. The day following losing custody of their children, the parents reportedly tied the maternal grandmother up, took her car, took the young boys and fled for Cuba. Authorities were able to quickly track down the family with the assistance of Cuban authorities, and the little boys were recovered safe and in good health.

However, the same cannot be said of the parents. Both are currently awaiting trial for charges that include kidnapping, child abuse, burglary, false imprisonment and interfering with custody. Both parents are presently prohibited from having any sort of contact with their young children.

While emotions can understandably run high in a custody battle, regardless of the circumstances it is always best to have a skilled attorney advocate for the rights of a parent. If a parent tries to address the issue outside a courtroom, there could be criminal consequences that further jeopardize a parent's access to their child.

Source: The Tampa Tribune, "Documents: Email, Facebook used in Hakken's kidnapping plan," Ray Reyes, April 17, 2013

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